Here's Everyone Who Hyped Zynga Before It Shit the Bed

It's easy to mock Zynga right now as it starts to grip its stomach and collapse—but where were the skeptics before the IPO boom and bust? Too busy heaping praise on a company that sold virtual hay bales on Facebook—and it sure looks bad in retrospect.

Seems hard to believe, right? Only a few years ago, plenty of informed, sharp, and above all influential minds—people who should have known better—thought Zynga was the start of something tremendous. It would be the harbinger of a new gaming economy, a Facebook cash cow, and a business model that had longevity beyond its spammy, scammy tactics.

None of this turned out to be true, of course—and it shouldn't have been outrageous to question a $7 billion valuation of the company that made FarmVille. Instead, we got this:


Will Zynga Become the Google of Games? — New York Times, 2010

During the spring of 2009, Zynga developers logged long hours in their aging Potrero Hill offices, furiously coding a new game that would cement the young company's lead in the nascent social gaming space.

FarmVille offered players a pastoral respite from daily stresses, a chance to plant seeds, harvest crops and raise barns with friends.

"We had a fundamental belief that, if people found games at their fingertips, if you really reduced the barriers to entry to games and you made them social, then a much larger group would engage," said Mark Pincus, 44, who founded Zynga in January 2007.

He was indisputably farsighted in recognizing the opportunity, and has been rewarded with a company that could pull down a half-billion dollars in revenue in its fourth year. — San Francisco Chronicle, 2010. Holy moly, emphasis added.

"Silicon Valley has a history of brash and sometimes flawed entrepreneurs doing great things. Sometimes it’s those flaws that drive them to success. So I’ll continue to kiss the Mark Pincus ring..." — Michael Arrington, 2010

"Zynga Is Four Disruptions In One" — Former Electronic Arts Chief Creative Officer, current Kleiner Perkins partner Bing Gordon, 2010

“We are pleased to enter into a new agreement with Zynga to enhance the experience for Facebook users who play Zynga games. We look forward to continuing our work with Zynga." — Sheryl Sandberg, after Facebook inked a 5 year partnership with Zynga, 2010

Google investor John Doerr: Zynga is our best company ever; “Zynga is the model” of success for entrepreneurs to follow Doerr said. — VentureBeat, 2010

Zynga's Latest Gimmick Is Actually A Really Good Idea Read — Business Insider, 2011

"I Think the [Zynga's] virtual goods model is a sustainable model." — Fred Wilson, 2012

Wilson has been pretty quiet today.